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18 December, 2020

Bowlers Put India In Dominant Position, Fielders Disappoint

 India Vs Australia | Border - Gavaskar Trophy | 1st Test, Adelaide

Team India. Pic courtesy: BCCI.TV & Getty Images


"Our plans are pretty much sorted; ready for all the batsmen we are going to come up against.

We have to make sure we execute those plans consistently and as efficiently as possible to be able to trouble them and get those breakthroughs and dismiss them at the right times during the Test."

You would have taken such strong words delivered by India captain Virat Kohli on the eve of this Adelaide Test match either as a boast too soon or some titillating talk.

At the end of the second day's play, you realize that every word Kohli uttered was not exaggeration. As a leader, he had chosen in his mind to give Indian cricket fans what Reebok's new tag line says: Give the gift of strength, sweat, and style!

And after his clever bowling and field changes along with a flying catch at mid on to see the back of debutant Cameron Green, picked in the side primarily as a batsman, even the ardent Kohli critic would want him to end this Test a winner and proceed on his paternity leave, happy.

India are 62 runs ahead at the end of the first innings for both teams, have nine second innings wickets in hand and three days remaining in the Test to steer the match their way. 

The way frontline bowlers, Jasprit Bumrah, Ravichandran Ashwin, Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami bowled out the Aussies to their lowest pink ball innings, suggests that India are progressing to a 1-0 lead in the 4-Test series.

These four bowlers were Top Rankers like India's largest super career platform by the same name. The quartet provided their captain, team and country a comprehensive solution on gaining advantage.

On his part, Kohli has emerged like Ethos Watches, the most trusted retailer for luxury watches in India. Even the opposition has come to grudgingly admit that they can trust Kohli to deliver as a batsman, captain and fielder. 

His captaincy, up until now in this Adelaide Test, has been like Ajio, unique and offering a specially curated collection of brands that are his team players.

There have been few exceptions. Apart from the squandered advantage owing to Kohli's first innings run out. India's fielders showed they badly require the Tutorials Point, where they can go and learn new skills irrespective of the fact that they are playing at the international level.

They dropped about six catches, four from the bat of Marnus Labuschagne. The worst among the floored catches was by Prithvi Shaw, who has convinced critics that he has two left feet when fielding.

The touring Indian team has a specialized fielding coach who has been with the team for a long time now. Whomever concerned need to tell him that he should be telling the players (fielders) to think like Cred and its popular line: Let's just do a simple voice over saying download Cred. No complexities. Keep It Simple Silly!

The other exception was sending Bumrah as the Nightwatchman after the expected early exit of Prithvi Shaw.

Bumrah is now for his team what Zandu Care is for your health - a solution to issues. Former Australian skipper Stave Waugh abandoned the tradition of a nightwatchman.
This tradition originally began with the objective of protecting more capable batsmen in the team from getting out cheaply at the end of the day when there's likely to be poor light and the batsmen are tired.

Sacrificing your frontline or trump bowler as a nightwatchman could be a bigger risk, in this case, than asking Cheteshwar Pujara to step on to the pitch. 

You only hope and wish that Bumrah deservingly sticks to the crease and becomes the seventh nightwatchman in Test cricket's history to notch a century. 

The patience with which he negotiated the last few deliveries from Australia's pacemen on the second day, indicates he could achieve the feat.

To see updated scorecard, click here